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23 April 2014
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Waiting For God

Stephanie Cole as Diana and Graham Crowden as Tom

A story of two utterly different free-thinkers thrown together by the utter disregard of their families and the fact that they were getting on a bit, Waiting For God's title is a little misleading.

It's nothing like Beckett, and a lot like The Prisoner, by way of the Derby and Joan club. Five series were made between 1990 and 1994.

Retired photojournalist Diana Trent finds herself in Bayview Retirement Home and is pretty damn angry about it - as she is about virtually everything.

Jane and Harvey

Suffering fools not at all and with a nifty line in putdowns, she despises anyone who believes her useless because she's old.

Chiefly among those are shiftless Harvey Bains, manager of the care home to whom his ageing charges are merely things he wishes would just die and save on the bills, and his intellectually challenged sidekick Jane who insists on trying to touch him.

Graham Crowden as Tom

The only person she does have time for - and that grudgingly so - is Tom, a nice but somewhat otherworldly older gentleman placed in the home by his alcoholic daughter-in-law and drippy son. Diana regards Bayview very much as a place to undermine, and proceeds to do so, with Tom cheerily helping her along the way.

Waiting for God is gloriously cast. Graham Crowden is masterly in his portrayal of Tom as a holy fool, preferring his internal world to the real one. Stephanie Cole has never been more imposing than as Diana.

The developing relationship between the two leads into an interdependent friendship and romance is utterly convincing.

Stephanie Cole as Diana

As Harvey, forever scrabbling for control in a world he's too dim to understand, Daniel Hill creates a human nothing that Dickens would've been proud of.

Very quietly, Waiting For God became a huge success, empowering as it did a group of people who were feeling progressively pushed out by TV and radio increasingly geared towards younger age groups, showing old people to be formidable, cultured and funny rather than the butt of jokes.

Over its five series, it proved consistently well-written and, well, life-affirming, as the two leads, consigned effectively to die in Bayview, looked forward to as much life as they could by living together, scandalizing everyone around them, and having the time of their lives.

Cast

Stephanie Cole
Diana Trent
Graham Crowden
Tom Ballard
Daniel Hill
Harvey Bains
Janine Duvitski
Jane Edwards
Andrew Tourell
Geoffrey Ballard
Sandra Payne
Marion Ballard
Lucy Ashton
Sarah
Dawn Hope
Jenny
Michael Bilton
Basil
Chico Andrade
Antonio
Tim Preece
Reverend Dennis Sparrow

Crew

Michael Aitkens
writer
Sue Bysh
director
Gareth Gwenlan
director
Gareth Gwenlan
producer

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